Payroll Services Press Releases

Press Release – 04/17/01

Area Finance Officers Memorandum 04/17/01 from Barry Johnston on Health Insurance Benefit Termination Dates
To: Area Finance Officers
From: Barry Johnston, Director
Date: April 17, 2001
Subject: Health Insurance Benefit Termination Dates
Recent changes in Health Care Authority rules require the Benefits and Payroll Services staff to modify practices when terminating benefits for retired or separated employees.Per WAC 182-08-210 (Health Care Authority Rules), WSU employee benefits must terminate on the last day of the final month that an employee is in pay status. For academic faculty and cyclic staff who will not be returning to WSU in the fall semester their benefits will end on the last day of the month in which they were in a pay status. Therefore, if the regular academic year appointment ends May 15th, the health insurance benefit termination date will be May 31st. This applies to retiring faculty as well as any employee with less than a twelve-month appointment who will not be returning to WSU. Summer appointments are not benefit-eligible and would not alter the above benefit termination date.Early identification of those employees who will not be continuing their WSU employment is important in order to avoid any possible need for retroactive benefit termination. The Health Care Authority rules provide for retroactive termination of benefits for up to three months. It is imperative that we avoid this procedure of retroactive benefit termination since it can create an extreme hardship for employees. BPPM Section 60.25 (Personnel Action Forms) specifies that a Personnel Action form (PAF) must be prepared for each employee who terminates employment. In the past, some departments may not have followed this procedure, resulting in inappropriate benefit contribution payments. We are requesting that departments initiate a PAF for all terminations, even if the appointment has a current academic year end date. This will allow us to terminate benefits at the appropriate time, and avoid any possible retroactive benefit termination. Benefit Services will notify all employees whose benefits are ending. Self-pay options for employees desiring to continue their benefits will be explained. There is a 60-day window for employees to initiate self-pay of premium.

The Payroll Office will be posting a list of benefit eligible appointments with a May end date on the web and e-mailing each departmental payroll contact person with the web address. Please review this list and prepare a PAF for those employees that will not be returning. If return is uncertain, it is best to submit a termination PAF. If you later find out that you will be rehiring the temporary employee, benefits can be re-instated retroactively. Reinstating benefits is preferred over a retroactive termination.

We appreciate your assistance in this process. If you have additional benefit termination questions please contact Martha Lindahl at 509-335-4589.